Research Projects

Project at a Glance

Project Status: active

Title: Cool Communities

Principal Investigator / Author(s): Davis, Dustin

Contractor: California Energy Commission

Contract Number: 08-314

Research Program Area: Climate Change

Topic Areas: Behavioral Change, Greenhouse Gas Control

Research Summary:

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this project is to provide technical assistance for ARB’s development of a “cool community” program to save energy and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

DESCRIPTION: Developing effective cool community programs requires comprehensive outreach that promotes complete understanding of the technologies and involvement of stakeholders who can potentially benefit from and contribute to such programs. Cool community measures include cool roofs (in some cases also cool walls), cool pavements, and shade trees.

The ultimate goal of this project is to help ARB develop effective implementation programs for cool communities. Such programs need to inform developers, builders, building code authorities, and municipal operations (schools, libraries, and parks) about examples of cool roofs in their climate zone, costs, aesthetic and building material options, and data on energy savings. Deliverables for this project could include web based databases that provide full documentation including images on specific examples of cool roofs and cool pavements, and provide access to regional shade tree collections. Deliverables could also include developing training programs and standards for different parts of the building industry and presentation materials, including case studies, for developers, home owners, commercial building owners, and retail establishments, as well as for cities and counties. The documentation that is developed is expected to include costs, payback periods, lifecycle emission reductions, potential environmental / performance issues, as well as supplemental resources. An online tool that allows individuals to receive customized guidance will also be explored. Developing scenarios for cool roof market penetration and assistance with toolkits and guidelines for cool communities would also be useful. Programs need input from all stakeholders and should be customized for each locality.

There are many components of a cool community program, including guidelines for public programs (shade trees, cool roofs, cool pavements); local ordinance, codes and standards (model ordinance for new developments, air quality standards); and funding and regulatory options.

BENEFITS: This program supports ARB’s “cool communities” early action measure, which will reduce GHG emissions through reduced energy consumption and improve the livability of the urban environment.


For questions regarding research reports, contact: Heather Choi at (916) 322-3893

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